5 Best Kayak Coolers in 2022

If you have been kayaking for a while, you know how having chilled drinks can improve the experience. It does not have to be drinks alone as you can also carry water and food in your best kayak cooler.

Coolers are quite many in the market, with several models claiming to be the best. At this point, you might even be confused about which one is the best for you. This guide has all the buying tips and top models in the market to help you learn more. Let us see what you can expect with such types of coolers.

Quick Picks: The Top-Rated Outdoor Dog House

AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler with High-Density Insulation, Charcoal, 36-Can
Coleman Soft Cooler Bag | Keeps Ice Up to 24 Hours | 30-Can Cooler with Adjustable Shoulder Straps | Great for Picnics, BBQs, Camping, Tailgating & Outdoor Activities
Best Pick
Arctic Zone Titan 30 Can Zipperless Cooler - Deep Freeze Insulation, HardBody Liner, and SmartShelf
Skywin Kayak Cooler Behind Seat - Waterproof Kayak Seat Back Cooler- Compatible with Lawn-Chair Style Seats, Kayak Accessories Stores Drinks and Keeps Them Cool All Day Kayaking (Orange)
Perception Splash Seat Back Cooler - for Kayaks with lawn-chair style seats
AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler with High-Density Insulation, Charcoal, 36-Can
Coleman Soft Cooler Bag | Keeps Ice Up to 24 Hours | 30-Can Cooler with Adjustable Shoulder Straps | Great for Picnics, BBQs, Camping, Tailgating & Outdoor Activities
Best Pick
Arctic Zone Titan 30 Can Zipperless Cooler - Deep Freeze Insulation, HardBody Liner, and SmartShelf
Skywin Kayak Cooler Behind Seat - Waterproof Kayak Seat Back Cooler- Compatible with Lawn-Chair Style Seats, Kayak Accessories Stores Drinks and Keeps Them Cool All Day Kayaking (Orange)
Perception Splash Seat Back Cooler - for Kayaks with lawn-chair style seats

In a hurry? Check our best pick above, or keep reading for product reviews and buying guide!

What is a Kayak cooler?

A kayak cooler is a type of cooler designed to fit in a kayak. It might have special bungee ball cords or other design features that make it easier to carry it in your kayak.

Depending on the type of cooler, some can hold the ice for 24 hours. That is a good amount of time to ensure your drinks stay cool even in hot weather.

The rise in kayaking popularity has made it possible for more people to think of fun ways to enjoy the activity. It is now why more people are also seeking the best kayak cooler when kayaking in hot weather.

Why You Need a Kayak Cooler

The most obvious reason is that you need a cooler to keep the drinks cool during the time you are kayaking. Not many people want to drink hot water when they have quite the thirst from sitting in hot weather.

Depending on a model, some may come with additional storage space you can use. This is where you can store some other personal items that you do not want to get wet while kayaking. Look at the storage options of a cooler to see if this would be an option.

Types Of Kayak Coolers

There are several types of kayak coolers in the market. I look at them in detail below.

Towable Coolers

The towable coolers are relatively new compared to the other types mentioned below. However, they are still useful in keeping your drinks, food, and catch cool for longer.

Kayakers love them since they can also float separately. It means that they will not take up much space in your kayak. So, if you have a lot of gear you need to carry, this will be an excellent option for you to consider.

Ice Chests

An ice chest will have a hard-shell exterior compared to a cooler bag, which will be a softshell. Since they have strong construction, you should find that such a model would be useful in terms of durability. Even if you use it more often, it can still withstand the different uses for a long time.

They can also hold ice for longer. Some might hold ice for a couple of days, depending on the model you choose. It might be great for those who want to be kayaking for several days.

Cooler Bags

A cooler bag is characterized by having a softshell exterior that allows it to be carried even on your back. It will have shoulder straps with padding for comfort.

The cooler bag will also have the main compartment, which features impressive insulation to help keep your drinks cool or catch fresh if you decide to go fishing.
You will find cooler bags available in different sizes. Make sure to pick the correct cooler depending on your cooling needs.

How to Choose a Kayak Cooler

The Size

This will probably be the most crucial consideration for most people. They would always want a model that can help them carry what they need in enough quantities.

Even if you want something big to carry more stuff, you still have to consider the space in the kayak. So, there are times you have to compromise and get the best kayak cooler that also fits in your kayak.

Insulation Time

Another thing to always consider is the insulation time. Depending on the model that you pick, the insulation time varies a lot. Some can have a few hours of holding ice, while others can keep ice for 24 hours.

If you go for the ice chests, they will hold the ice for days. So, go through the product description to see what kind of hours you are working with before buying.

Material Type

The material type will mostly affect durability and insulation.

The common options include either soft-sided coolers or hard-shell coolers. Both models will have pros and cons, so understand them further before selecting one.

The soft-sided coolers will mostly be flexible to pressure, making them easily fit in your kayak. However, their durability is not as good as the hard-shell models.

The soft-sided coolers also do not have the best ice holding time. Most can only hold ice for 24 hours or less. If you want more hours, go for the hard-shell models.

The Color

Most best kayak coolers would have bright colors. Such coolers can help in reflecting the heat. As such, they would be able to hold the ice longer. As much as the light colors are prone to dirt and stains, it is a nice compromise to keep your drinks cooler for longer.

Product Reviews of The Best Kayak Cooler

One of the reasons you would want the best kayak cooler is that you need to have some cold drinks while fishing or any other kayaking activity. Well, this model stands out with its insulation capabilities. It guarantees holding your ice for 24 hours, even in 120-degree weather outdoors.

Since it can hold the ice for longer, it will be an ideal kayak cooler for activities such as boating, fishing, sporting events, picnics, and more. As such, it should be a versatile cooler for your different applications altogether.

The model is made of durable soft canvas material. This type of material can stand up to travel even if you want to use it more often. There is also a shoulder strap that allows for ease of carrying the cooler depending on where you want to take it.

As for the capacity, it will hold up to 36 cans plus 10 pounds of ice. Such capacity is good overall to ensure that you can have an easy time using the cooler more often.


  • It has a leak-proof TPU liner
  • It comes with an impressive insulation
  • The model is highly versatile


  • The shoulder strap tends to break a lot

Any list of coolers would not be complete without Coleman’s products. Well, this one lives up to the brand’s name when it comes to overall performance.

Its premium insulation is one thing that makes this one a top choice. Its insulation will keep the ice maintained for up to 24 hours in different temperatures. You can find it holding the ice even when the temperatures are as high as 90 degrees F.

How about the capacity? Those who love kayaking also need enough space for their drinks. This model holds up to 30 cans. Such is enough room for you to enjoy using the cooler without worrying it will not hold enough drinks for you and your friends.

There are several storage options. The zippered main compartment will keep the contents cold at any time. There is also a front pocket for dry storage and other accessories. So, you could have other things stored in the cooler too, other than drinks.

The liner is odor-resistant. This is because it is treated with antimicrobials to resist fungus, mold, and odor.


  • The top hatch makes it easy to access contents
  • It can hold up to 30 cans
  • It offers premium insulation


  • A few complaints about the ice holding time being shorter than advertised

This is another top option to consider when choosing the best kayak cooler. Many people like it because it offers good performance in terms of insulation. It comes with a radiant heat barrier that reflects the heat instead of absorbing it as compared to other models in the market.

There is also a flip open zipperless design for the lid. As a result, this will allow for quick access to food and drinks. There is no doubt you would want to use it more often since it has a unique way of operating.

It also comes with a leak-proof liner to ensure the cooler can hold the ice for longer. The last thing you need is the ice melting quickly when you will be kayaking for hours.


  • Its materials are water and stain resistant
  • The shoulder strap is padded for comfort
  • Its heat barrier reflects the heat better to maintain insulation


  • The insulation is average for the money

Skywin is still a popular product when it comes to making outdoor equipment. One thing that makes this a top option is the overall performance. Considering its price, people expect it to perform well. Do not worry as it will be an excellent cooler for you.

The cooler is compatible with the lawn-chair or sit-on-top kayaks. So, if you have such a kayak, go ahead and get this cooler to start enjoying some good times outdoors.

The cooler also has a reputation for holding the ice longer than what you occasionally get with other coolers. Even if you plan on using the cooler for hours outdoors, the canned drinks will remain cool for long.

The top zipper makes it easier to access the drinks even while seated fishing on your kayak.

Having a water-resistant zipper and waterproof outer materials will keep the water from getting into the cooler. It is why it would be an excellent choice for those who want to use it in kayaks.

There are bungee ball cords on the cooler too. These are to fasten the cooler to your kayak seat, keeping it in one position.


  • Water-resistant zipper
  • Holds the ice for longer
  • The narrow design takes up less space


  • Limited color options

If you have a lawn-chair type of kayak, then this is another top choice as the best kayak cooler. The cooler’s design allows you to easily attach it to the back of your seat and go on to kayak without a problem. Since it does not take up much space inside the kayak, you will not need to leave any of your fishing gear or any other type of kayaking gear. The model comes with strong bungee ball cords for attaching it to the back of the seat. These cords are strong so that the model does not easily come off even when kayaking in rough waters. Since it has a zippered hatch at the top, it will provide you with easy access to the drinks and food while in a seated position. There is no need to bend around all the time when you have to enjoy a cold one.


  • It can keep the drinks cold all day long
  • It has strong webbing loops for additional gear
  • Attaching and detaching from the seat is easy


  • The capacity could be better


How can you attach a kayak cooler to your vessel?

This is something that largely depends on the type of cooler you have picked. Some come with bungee cords that help you attach the cooler to the back of your seat easily. Some have Velcro straps for securing the cooler to other spaces in your kayak.

How long will the cooler hold the ice?

The amount of time a cooler holds the ice largely depends on the type of cooler you buy. Some can hold the ice for 24 hours, while others can hold the ice for up to 5 days. So, it is best to learn more about this timeline before buying the cooler.

How many drinks can a kayak cooler hold?

The capacity will also vary depending on the model you pick. On average, most models hold around 30 cans. This capacity should be useful also to keep your catch in case you opt for kayak fishing.


The best kayak cooler will be quite the asset for anyone who likes kayaking more often. This is because you can keep the drinks cold while keeping your catch fresh too. Yes, many people use their cooler to hold their catch during a kayak fishing activity.

From the list of coolers above, there is no doubt you can now narrow down to the best cooler depending on your needs. Read more reviews on a cooler where necessary before choosing.

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